Leeds’ goth rock band Salvation is enjoying a revival 40 years after hitting the music scene
Salvation appeared during a post-punk revolution.
It was in the early 1980s, when Leeds bands were creating an alternative music scene, which earned them the nickname “Gothic City”.
The group traveled across the country, followed by loyal supporters at every turn.
Now back together after a 17-year hiatus and preparing to release their debut album live, singer Danny Mass and guitarist Ben Farvak fondly recall how their journey began.
“There was a good punk scene in Leeds with the F Club and Faversham,” Danny told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“This was where all the ‘weirdos’ and musicians used to hang out and then started to form groups.
“In the early 1980s, there were either pubs or nightclubs. There was no such thing as a “cool bar” and there were only a couple of safe pubs that all the punks could go to – the rest were old pubs.
“Anyone who entered with straight pants and spiky hair was chased or beaten. “
“It could be quite dangerous for ‘the alternatives’ at night,” Ben added.
With a guitarist, bassist and Danny on synths, Salvation was formed in 1983 as gothic and post-punk bands began to find underground fame in Leeds.
There was a camaraderie among artists from the city’s alternative music scene, Danny said, with pioneering bands such as The Sisters of Mercy bringing in others to support them at concerts.
Danny added, “The salute started with us making weird noises in our rooms and very organically those noises turned into riffs and songs.
“We put together about six or seven songs, and that’s when we found out that the guitarist we had didn’t want to do live concerts. “
After a reshuffle of the group, Salvation performed his first gig at Leeds University’s Tartan Bar in 1995 – with Danny turning to vocals.
Ben, who moved to Leeds from France in the early 1980s, joined Salvation as a guitarist in 1987 as the band began to build audiences.
Ben said, “I liked the idea that Salvation had songs, any of their songs could be played on an acoustic guitar. They were like a 70s glam band, very melodic and song-based.
“That’s why I joined the band and it turned out I was pretty good at making these catchy riffs.”
“It’s all about the riffs,” Danny added.
“Our music was described as catchy pop with b ******. I think that’s why you can relate to the glam bands of the 1970s – they were pretty heavy, but they still had songs. “
After Ben joined the band, the guys went straight to the studio to record their album Diamonds Are Forever.
There was an appetite for an alternative sound and “something new,” the couple said, and the album hit the indie charts.
“Other bands were doing the exact same thing,” Ben added.
“Groups like Salvation, Sisters, the Mission and promoters like John Keenan [of F Club, Duchess of York] created the original alternative music scene in Leeds.
“They paved the way for the current generation of big groups like the Kaiser Chiefs and Pigeon Detectives.”
The duo teased untold stories of debauchery on “The Tour That Never Ended,” performing over 300 concerts nationwide.
After tensions erupted between the group, the group disbanded in the early 1990s for more than 17 years. Danny worked at the Hellraiser record store, and Ben as a DJ and translator.
But the meeting was never far from their minds.
In 2007, gothic rock band The March Violets invited Salvation to open their concert at Leeds Metropolitan University (now Beckett).
They didn’t have an active band, but said yes anyway – and Danny and Ben, now in their sixties, are enjoying a Salvation revival with Paul Lavender on guitar, Nic Bate on bass and Stuart Owen on drums. .
Danny added, “When we broke up we obviously got on our nerves, but we were away from each other long enough. It was a ‘cool down’ period.
“And we grew up, I guess. And we stopped drinking so much!”
Salvation is now preparing to hit the road again. They will open for the Chameleons at a concert in Manchester in December, before supporting Leeds band and their close friends, The Mission on their 2022 tour.
They say they approach their concerts with a bit more professionalism and less alcohol than 30 years ago – but the buzz of being on stage is something that has never gone away.
“There is an unconditional base of people who were there in the 80s,” Danny said.
“Because we don’t do a lot of concerts, it’s more of an occasion. People make it a whole weekend, taking babysitters and booking hotels.
“To us, it’s amazing. It means so much to us – just as much as when, back then, people were traveling 300 miles to see us.”
New album captures the dynamics of salvation like never before
Salvation will release their first live album, We gave you diamonds… live at De Casino, beginning of November.
This is a recording of their first European tour in March 2020, where they supported The Mission during concerts in France and Belgium.
When the lockdown was announced four days later, the group narrowly returned to the UK with the recording of the last night in their bags.
Danny said, “We recorded the last gig of the tour so that we could listen to it, just for our own benefit.
“When we listened, we were like ‘wow, that’s pretty good.’ He captured who we are and the dynamics of a live gig, which we’ve never been able to do before.
“We took our time to put it together as a nice package.”
The band had plenty of time and spent periods of confinement mixing, remastering and perfecting the album.
“It should be nostalgic for the fans and remind them of what they used to come to see,” Danny added.
“They will know the set, these are songs that we have been playing for a while, but they have never been available live.
“I think it captures our sound perfectly.”
We gave you diamonds… live at De Casino will be available for purchase on Bandcamp in early November. The first 100 purchases will be accompanied by a set of free gifts.
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